A Day in the Life: A Slut-Shaming Experiment

Slut-shaming is the act of shaming someone for being -- or even just appearing to be -- sexual. It is used to control the behavior of women and girls by criticizing or demeaning them any time they don't conform to the rigid expectations of our sexist society. Some incidents are pretty straightforward. If someone yells "slut" to me from their car as I walk down the street in a short skirt, almost anyone would agree that I was just slut-shamed. However, sex-negativity and misogyny are so ingrained in our culture, that more subtle acts of slut-shaming occur every day (sometimes all day long) without anyone even realizing. A lot of people might not notice (or care) when this kind of slut-shaming takes place right in front of their own eyes.

I consider myself a sex-positive feminist, so I might be slightly more tuned in to slut-shaming than the average person -- I did run a blog called "Evil Slutopia" for seven years -- but I never really thought about exactly how often I experienced (or witnessed) slut-shaming on a daily basis. So I decided to do an experiment and document every incident that I experienced or witnessed, no matter how subtle, within a 48-hour period of time.

This is what happened...


15 Ways We Slut-Shame Girls (Without Even Realizing It)

An adolescent’s first exposure to slut-shaming often comes directly from his or her family. Even sex-positive parents might feel conflicted between desires to keep children safe and concerns about attaching shame or stigma to sexuality. Children are bombarded with hypersexualized images in entertainment and advertising, while school administrators enforce sexist dress codes. Even in the best districts, sex education is lacking and rape protection programs utilize victim-blaming scare tactics.

So how does someone raise confident, empowered, sex-positive and responsible girls?